Category Archives: concrete sleeper retaining walls

Gold Coast Landscapers

What is landscaping. Is it an art form, is it engineering solutions, is it construction, is it problem solving to create the best possible solution for every individual situation, or is it just plain hard work? I would suggest that landscaping is all of these things and more. If designed and installed correctly landscaping address any drainage issues, create usable outdoor areas, be constructed with integrity to last the test of time and provide a eye pleasing finish for you to enjoy for years to come.

Whilst it is possible to teach different elements of landscaping the only real way to bring them all together is years experience of dealing with different challenges  and creating the solutions needed to overcome them and deliver the best possible finish to any landscape project. Any landscaper who aspires to be good at their job needs to learn through solving problems on the job and creating the best solutions. The question is; do you want someone learning on your job or do you want to feel sure that the person you engage has the experience to complete  your project professionally to the highest possible standard?

When you engage a contractor for your landscape project there are things you should check; 

Ask for and check references.

Check QBCC license details and history. 

Ask your contractor about different options for your works i.e fences, retaining walls, concrete etc. A good contractor will have at least 2 or 3 options and be able to explain the pros and cons. Make sure you feel comfortable with the person you engage for your project. Remember experience counts, not all good landscapers have been around for a long time but all landscapers that have been around for a long time are good ones.

When you engage a  contractor to deliver your landscape project ensure that they can complete the scope of works required to deliver the finished product. If other trades are to be engaged, such as plumbers, electricians, renderers ensure that the contractor you choose has a  Builder Restricted to Structural Landscape license, otherwise they will not be able to engage other contractors to perform your works legally.Potentially leaving you to deal with and organize other trades and contractors. This can be time consuming, add to construction time and costs and frustrating if you don’t understand exactly what has to happen to finish your landscape project. If you engage a contractor who is capable of quoting all of your works there should be nothing left out of the pricing, everything should be considered and the quotation should reflect the true cost of the project to be undertaken so that you don’t end up with a costly extras bill at the end of the job. This also means that the project is considered as a whole, all sections of works being performed in consideration of the next stage to provide you with the best possible finish to your landscape project.

Bluestone Landscaping has been servicing the Gold Coast/South Brisbane area for more than 10 years. Our staff have been landscaping for more than 25 years and are ready to provide you with the best possible service. We specialise in refurbishment and restoration of existing private residential landscaping. From repair/replacement of retaining walls to garden rejuvenation and full landscape refurbishments. We value our customers and endeavour to provide them with the best possible solutions, personalized service and an experience that means you will want to  refer us to your friends. Whether it be our polite, courteous staff; attention to detail; site cleanliness and organization or our willingness to go that extra yard to make sure our customers are happy.

If you are considering a landscape project that involves;

retaining walls; timber, concrete sleeper, linkwall,  block

retaining walls higher than 1 metre fences; colourbond, timber,  blueboard,  pool fencing.

concreting; plain, exposed, covercreting drainage

deckspergolas and patios paving 

tiling turf and gardens water features irrigation design  and consultation

Please contact us at Bluestone Landscaping for an obligation free quote. We Service all areas of the Gold Coast and South Brisbane. From Coolangatta, Elanora, Southport, Ormeau, Willowvale, Hope Island, Maudsland, Ashmore, Robina, Logan, Springwood and all areas in between. Whatever your needs we look forward to servicing you landscaping requirements.

Retaining walls over 1 metre high

Does your landscape project require a retaining wall higher than 1 metre? If so you there are some things that you will need to be aware of, such as; the wall will require a building approval; the wall will require an engineering drawing; the contractor you engage to build the wall will need to be licensed with the QBCC as a Builder Restricted to Structural Landscaping. The contractor you engage should be aware of these things and be able to include the costs for the engineer and certifier in quotation for the works to be done.

Engineers details will vary on a site by site basis. Therefore every retaining wall should have it’s own specific engineering detail.  your contractor should have an engineer that they work with regularly and can discuss the best solution for your particular project. This will ensure that your retaining wall is properly engineered to last without  expensive  over engineering.

Building approvals are usually dealt with by a private certifier. If your contractor has a working relationship with a certifier it will reduce the time taken for the building approvals to be completed. Some of the more tricky approvals can take weeks or even months if they require things such as; build over sewer; build over stormwater; relaxation. The quicker all these things are sorted out the quicker your project can be started.

The contractor you engage should be able to tell you who they use for  their engineering and certification. They should be able to provide you with more than one option for the construction of the retaining wall, i.e concrete sleeper, timber sleeper, besser block, linkwall block. Each product has its own method of construction and design features that will be either better suited or not suited at all for your landscaping project.

options for retaining

Concrete sleeper/steel post 

                                                                              A very durable option that takes up a minimum amount of room. Fencing can also be attached to the wall posts meaning the wall and fence are all in alignment. This is a very structurally sound way of building a retaining wall/fence combination. Many of the concrete sleeper options now come coloured and/or patterned, this means that the aesthetic appearance of the product has improved greatly.

Timber sleeper  

                                                                                                             Similar to concrete sleeper walls in the construction method however timber does not have the durability of concrete and steel. Timber walls are one of the cheapest forms of retaining so if budget is your main concern they may be worth looking at. One option to consider is the use of galvanised steel posts with timber rails, this way the posts are reusable when the timber perishes, making the cost of repair/replacement of wall much cheaper. The timber used should be a minimum of 75mm hardwood sleepers, this will ensure that you get the best longevity out of your timber retaining wall.

Link wall   

                                                                                                                           Link walls are a very durable retaining wall system. Being a masonry product they last for a very long time. There is a great selection of block styles and colours to choose from so that you will be able to choose something that compliments your landscaping. Link walls are very good where a curve is required and can also be used for straight lines. Because link walls are a gravity system of retaining wall the weight of the blocks aids in the retaining, allowing for smaller footing than many other retaining wall systems. This can be very useful if the footings for your retaining wall are going into rock or large excavations are not possible.  Link walls are not always the answer though because they require some room to be constructed properly, generally around 500 – 800mm.

Besser Block     

                                                                                                              Besser blocks are great for formal retaining areas front fence/retaining wall combinations or any situation that requires a truly vertical wall. Usually finished with render or stone cladding they add aesthetic value to any landscaping project. A core filled block retaining wall that has been constructed properly is one of the most durable systems of retaining. Two things that should be considered are that block walls are very expensive to construct and they require large footings, meaning extensive excavation is required.


                                                                                                          Remember to check your contractors details and their class of license, it should be Builder Restricted to Structural Landscape for walls over 1m high.                                                                                                   Ensure that your contractor can deal with all aspects of the project, including the engagement of certifiers and engineers.                             Make sure that your contractor provides you with all your options so that you receive the best possible finish both structurally and aesthetically for your landscape project.

Retaining wall with fence




Often retaining walls are situated on the boundary line of a property. This means that they are also in alignment with the boundary fence. This can create some interesting challenges to ensure that the you get the best possible solution. If you are considering a project in the Gold Coast, South Brisbane region I hope you find the following article of assistance.

Types of construction

The first step is the selection of wall and fence type. One of the most common solutions is a sleeper retaining wall, either timber or concrete sleeper with a timber or colour bond fence. Any combination of wall and fence will allow for both to be built inline with the boundary, saving space and providing the best structural solution. There are other options of retaining walls and fencing however they may not suit all situations or be practical at all when considering the construction of a retaining wall/fence combination in alignment with a boundary. Other options may take up too much room, not allow for the fence to be fitted properly or not be able to be constructed in a manner that is structurally sound.


Once the selection of construction method of the wall and fence has been selected there are further considerations in relation to approvals, certification and council requirements. Such considerations would include things like; is the retaining wall/fence combination going to exceed the minimum height that is required for a relaxation; will the retaining wall/fence combination cross a sewer or stormwater line; will the height of the retaining wall exceed one metre. If the wall exceeds one metre in height it will require an engineers design. The design will need to comply with the relevant Australian Standards. All of these potential issues can and should  be addressed by you contractor.

Choosing a contractor

Choosing your contractor may be the most difficult part of your project. The outcome of your project will depend on their experience and capabilities.                                                                                 Your contractor should:- be licensed correctly with QBCC, any retaining wall over 1 metre in height will require that the contractor hold a Builder Restricted to Structural Landscape  license.   -Should be able to provide references from recent clients.  -Be able to demonstrate that they have the knowledge about various methods of construction to ensure you endupwiththebestpossible outcome.  -Be able to engage an engineer/certifier on your behalf and deal with all relevant approvals.  – Be able to produce all relevant insurances, especially in relation to subcontractors and working adjacent to roads. You/your insurance may be held responsible if you engage a contractor who does not have the relevant insurance and there is an accident.   -Maybe the most important thing to consider is to make sure that you feel comfortable with your choice of contractor.                        -Care about your landscape project more than you do.

Many of the larger companies provide a one size fits all solution to your landscaping project. Their main point of difference is that they can build your retaining wall/fence “cheaply”. They only use/sell one method of construction and will contract out your work to anyone they can get to do it for the “right price”. The salesman you dealt with initially takes no further part in you project. This usually means that you end up with an inferior final product that could have been avoided if you had the correct contractor to begin with. Sometimes the little bit extra it costs to deal with someone who cares about your project and will ensure you get the best possible outcome will be the best money you spend on the whole job.

The owner of Bluestone Landscaping has been building retaining walls/fences and landscaping on the Gold coast for the past twenty five years. We at Bluestone Landscaping would love to have the opportunity to provide a quotation for your project. Let us take the hassle out of your retaining wall/fence project. We can provide you with the best solutions, deal with all the engineering and approval requirements and we are fully licensed and insured.

Thank you if you have managed to read this far, I hope that you have found some value in this article. We would love to hear from you if you require and further assistance/quotation for your retaining wall/fence project.

Retaining Wall Contractors

By using retaining wall contractors who have a good reputation, you will be able to enhance the beauty of your home with an attractive retaining wall. There are so many different types of retaining walls to choose from. If you are not design orientated, you can retain the services of a landscape designer who will be able to provide you with an appropriate design for your landscaping needs.

Professional landscapers will only using retaining wall contractors who are experienced and professional. Some of the different types of retaining walls that are being used today are gravity walls, cantilever walls, anchored walls, and piling walls. These different type of retaining walls are constructed from an assortment of materials such as redwood, logs, steel, stone, cement, pressure-treated wood, timber, and rebar.

A reputable retaining wall contractor will be able to construct a retaining wall on your property from scratch and in the future if there are any repairs to be done, his company will provide this service also. It is always advisable to choose a retaining wall contractor who is licensed and insured. This will assure you that he is a reputable contractor who understands that accidents can happen.

You will also want to make certain that all of the employees who work for the contractor are protected with workers compensation insurance. This will be a protection for both the employee and for yourself and your property. If the contractor is using employees who do not have this type of insurance and they are injured on your property, they could sue you for their injuries.

This could cost your insurance company thousands of dollars which would raise your monthly premiums by a lot. In fact, there are many insurance companies that would not honour this type of lawsuit against you. You personally then would be responsible for paying for the employees future hospital costs and wage losses. This is just one of the reasons why you will want to choose a reputable and fully insured retaining wall company.

As a side point, if you live in the state of California you should know that not every retaining wall company is required to have general liability insurance. Companies that have the Prime Buyers Report ñ Top 10 certification are companies that do have general liability insurance. Companies who have this type of certification will also have proven themselves to be a company that only hires documented workers. There are employees will have workers compensation insurance and a clean working record.

When it comes to the different types of retaining walls, there are four popular types. They are the cantilever, gravity, anchored, and piling. The simplest of these types is a gravity retaining wall which relies on its own weight to retain whatever is piled against it. The cantilever retaining wall has a lever arm at its base. This lever arm will extend below the earth. This allows the pressure and weight of the earth to act as an opposite force to the pressure of the earth behind the retaining wall.

A retaining wall that uses the piling technique has long poles that extend far below the ground. The advantage of a piling retaining wall is that it can resist a lot of weight piled against it. An anchored retaining wall has cables driven into the soil or rock that is to be retained. This type retaining wall can be combined with all of the other types of retaining walls to provide additional support and strength.

One of the things that makes retaining walls so attractive is the largest selection of materials that you can use for your retaining wall. Materials such as stone, treated timber, bricks or whatever can add beauty to any landscaped yard. When working with a landscape designer or a retaining wall contractor you should ask them some specific questions before you retain their services.

For example, always ask them about their experience and credentials. Inquire whether they only use workers who are fully insured by a workers compensation plan. Ask them for references from other homeowners who have previously used their services. Make sure that they are familiar with local building codes and ordinances. Questions such as these will help you when choosing and using retaining wall contractors.

Main Causes Of Retaining Wall Failures

Large retaining walls are becoming part and parcel of civil engineering, but that does not mean they are as successful as you would like them to be. In fact civil engineers consider these walls as being the most risky because of how often they fail. While, they may be easier to put together and set up, there are too many risks involved that puts civil engineers off. Here are some of the main causes of retaining wall failures and why engineers hesitate.

High Failure Rate

Retaining walls have a larger failure rate and this puts them in a disadvantaged position immediately. It has a lot to do with how they are constructed and how they are unable to deal with the pressures that are put on them. Now, the rates that are established state it is only 1 retaining wall every 1000 that is going to fail.

This might not seem high, but in the world of engineering this is a significant issue and one that is going to cause problems for those who are trying to find a solid option that is going to last.

Size Causes Weakness

A larger retaining wall tends to be more prone to falling apart and that is never fun to deal with, yet in many cases a larger option is the only way to go for the team that is behind the project.

Therefore, the large retaining wall is often going to see failure before anything is given a chance and that is never easy to deal with for the team.

A lot of the times, larger retaining walls are refrained from because of this reason alone as certain environments are not conducive for a larger retaining wall.

Poor Communication

This is one of those reasons that most people would assume does not take place, but there are a lot of people involved in the project and when the communication lines start to cross up, the retaining wall does not get put together as it should have been and the results are awful in the long term.

When the communication is fine, the large retaining wall is able to do well for itself, but when the communication is off, the wall does fall apart over time no matter what is done.


One of the main causes has been pointed towards water and how it tends to weaken the retaining wall. It is not the water that is the sole reason for the retaining wall started to weaken and therefore falling apart, but it does have a major role to play as it chips away day after day.

Over time, the water tends to do a lot of damage that has to be corrected before the wall falls apart completely. If the water levels are not assessed properly, the damage will come in thick and fast. This is why engineers have to be careful of the direction they go in with the project.

Too Much Analytics Involved

One of the reasons that is cited for this being a reality has to do with the analytics that are involved with number crunching going on into what is being done with the retaining wall. This can be frustrating as there is nothing worse than numbers being used as the sole reader into whether or not the retaining wall is the right option and how it is going to be put together.

When only numbers are being used, it can lead to a false image being produced where the engineers assume everything is fine when it is not.

These are just a few of the main causes of retaining wall failures that have to be kept in mind before a decision is made one way or another. While, it might sound the most appealing option, these main causes of retaining wall failures should be enough proof to indicate how this is not an option most people should be going for in the modern age. Civil engineers and their project teams are looking to stay away unless they are positive about the results and are able to make sure all the checks and balances have been done in advance before a decision is made.

5 Retaining Wall Solutions

The retaining wall can be defined as a structure that is created for holding back or retaining water, dirt or other materials behind the wall. In common households, retaining walls are generally used for the purpose of landscaping whereas big retaining walls are used for retaining material in commercial settings.

concrete retaining wall

The main job of retaining walls is to prevent erosion. Backfill is the term used to define the material that is being retained behind the retaining wall.

There are many different materials used for retaining walls that include timber, stones, bricks and cement among others. Cement is one of the most commonly used materials for building retaining walls. More often than, metal bars dug into the ground are also used for avoiding extra support.

The design of the retaining wall depends on the type of soil as well as the amount of material that needs to be retained. Retaining walls made of stone are aesthetically pleasing and are commonly used for landscaping purposes.

Many well-known landscaping artists use stonework for creating extremely beautiful landscaping designs. Similarly, timber is also used for creating retaining walls but timber is only used in places where there is a lot less material to be retained which means that there is almost no pressure on the wall.

It is important to keep in mind that designing a retaining wall requires some complex calculations and if the wall is not designed in the right manner, there is a high chance that it will simply crumble away. Therefore, the retaining wall should be designed by an engineer or an experienced landscaping artist who knows all there is to know about designing retaining walls.

There are a number of types of retaining walls. The article below will discuss 5 retaining wall solutions. These commonly used 5 retaining wall solutions are extensively used throughout the world for creating some great looking retaining walls.

5 Retaining Wall Solutions

There are many different factors that affect the design of a retaining wall. It is also recommended to check the local building code before one starts building a retaining wall. In most of the cases, a retaining wall more than 40 inches high needs to be made by a licensed contractor only.

There are a number of designs possible and retaining wall can be designed to have multiple uses. For instance, in addition to holding back the sand and moisture, the wall may also serve as a bench seating.

Gravity Retaining Walls

As the name suggests, this design makes use of gravity to keep the sand and moisture away. It is designed with a thicker base and has a slightly angled design that leans backwards. These are mostly made of concrete or stone.

It is recommended to hire the services of an expert landscape artist as making this wall requires exact measurements and right type of materials to ensure that it lasts a long time.

Anchor Retaining Walls

These types of retaining walls make use of cables that connect the top and bottom. The anchors are dug in to ground with concrete and this protects the structure against high pressure. This design is best for holding back huge amount of soil behind retaining wall.

Construction of an anchor retaining wall is highly complex and it is recommended to hire the services of an experienced landscaper or engineer to build this retaining wall.

Cantilever Retaining Walls

This design is used for retaining huge amount of soil. It consists of a foundation with reinforced concrete over the foundation. The design of this retaining wall also helps in shifting the horizontal pressure to vertical pressure.

Soft Soil Retaining Wall

These retaining walls are used for holding back soft soil. Planks are pushed into the ground against the soil to build this type of retaining wall.

Dry Stacked Wall

This type of retaining wall is made by stacking stones one over the other in layers. These look attractive and there is no need for a foundation as stones move with the soil.

These are the top 5 retaining wall solutions that are extensively used by landscapers all around the world. If you have the need to build a retaining wall, do not forget to get advice from an experienced landscaper or engineer to ensure that the retaining wall does not collapse under the weight of the retained soil.

Structural Retaining Walls

Retaining walls form the cornerstone of most landscape projects. Unless you build on a near level site there will be some need for a retaining wall. Whether it be ground stabilization, changing land contours, creating level areas or as a landscape feature, retaining walls are an integral part of most landscaping projects.

Retaining walls can be built from many different materials and constructed in many different ways. Besser block, linkwall block, timber sleeper, concrete sleeper, natural stone just to name a few. Not all are suited to every situation and most times only one
or two types of wall will provide the best solution. If you are planning to engage a contractor for your project make sure they are capable of providing you with all the options available to ensure you end up with the best result.

Feature retaining walls can be used to create an eye catching feature in your landscape project. Split face block, rendered block, natural stone etc. are just some of the finishes that can make your landscaping look amazing.

At Bluestone Landscaping we are licensed and capable of building any retaining wall you may require. We construct retaining walls from any material. Because of this we can offer our clients the best retaining wall to suit their situation, from a 2 metre high structural wall to a 600mm feature wall in the front garden.

Retaining Wall Solutions Gold Coast

Maintaining a yard can be a challenge when you live in the Gold Coast. The soil here isn’t always an ideal fit for growing plants, and it can take a lot of work to make sure your yard remains well maintained.

The best way to deal with this problem is to look into retaining wall solutions Gold Coast. The right wall will help you to keep your lawn in good condition, and will make your yard look better than it ever has before. Here are a few of the numerous benefits of retaining walls.

They Provide Support for the Soil

The primary benefit of a retaining wall is that it provides functional support for the soil. These walls will ensure that your soil always remains in place, and will also ensure that your plants are able to grow and thrive.

They Prevent Sink Holes

Sink holes are a common problem in the Gold Coast, and they can be expensive to fix. Thankfully, you can avoid this eyesore by putting in a retaining wall. Your lawn will no longer be plagued by dirt pits and piles; everything will look smooth, even, and attractive.

They Prevent Flooding

Many people in the Gold Coast have had their yard flooded. This can be a major nightmare, and can cause hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of damage. Thankfully, retaining walls can easily prevent flooding and can help keep your yard safe.

Reduces Maintenance

Although a yard is normally a lot of work to maintain when you live in the Gold Coast, retaining walls make things far easier to manage. You’ll be able to spend less time working to improve your yard, and you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying it.

Prevents Property Damage

If something goes wrong with your yard, it’s possible that your plants won’t be the only thing that’s damaged. Your home could be damaged as well. A retaining wall will work to protect all of your property, not just the things you keep outdoors.

As you can see, retaining wall solutions Gold Coast are something you should take a closer look at. The Gold Coast has beautiful weather, and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t have a lovely yard to enjoy it in. Take a closer look at retaining walls and see what it would cost to have some put into your yard.

Retaining Wall Fences Gold Coast Help Prevent Falls

A retaining wall is often placed near areas where a landslide has happened before or where development has been done on top of a hill. However, this does not prevent people from being stupid and trying to walk along the top of the retaining wall. What people need to have on the retaining wall, is some of the retaining wall fences Gold Coast to help prevent people from falling off of the retaining wall. However, people need to know what all this can do for them to know if this is a great option or not.

With these fences, it is going to allow people to have an item that will prevent people from walking along the top of the wall. When people are not walking along the top of the wall, people have a lower chance of falling. However, people will also know the fence is their for a reason and this will help keep them from climbing on top of the fence or wall as well because they do not want to take the chance of falling.

Adding beauty to the blank retaining wall is something else that people are going to like to see. While most of the time, the top of a retaining wall is just a flat piece of concrete, it does not have the eye appeal people want to have. However, when people are looking at the fence, they will find it is going to allow them to have some beauty added into the property, which makes the eye appeal a little bit better.

With a fence, it can help to keep people away from the wall as a whole. When people see a fence, if they are not curious about what is on the other side, they tend to stay away from the edge. This in turn will help to keep people safe from the potential harm they can have.

As many people have found out, a retaining wall is a great way to keep their property in one place and not sliding down the hill. However, people may find these walls are going to be an attraction for people to climb down or jump off of. When people do this they can easily hurt themselves or others. This is when people need to know about the retaining wall fences Gold Coast and how these not only stop people from jumping off of them or falling, but also add some beauty to the property.

Gold Coast Fences and Retaining Walls

Building a retaining wall with a fence attached can be a tricky project.
What type of wall?
What type of fence?
Will the retaining wall require a council approval?
Will the combination of fence and retaining wall attract a relaxation?
These are all questions that need to be asked and answered before the project is started. Consider that there are many combinations of fence/retaining wall constructions. Not all are suited to every situation and all should be considered. If you are considering such a project make sure your contractor can quote more than one option i.e:-

-timber fence / concrete sleeper
-timber fence / timber sleeper
-colour bond fence / concrete sleeper
-colour bond fence / block wall
-powder coated aluminium / block wall
and so on.

Make sure the contractor you choose is licensed with the QBCC to perform the works. Make sure that the contractor is aware of the relevant legislation regarding the construction of fence/retaining wall constructions. If you do your homework you should end up with a successful project that will add value to your property for years to come.